From Salem spinsters in league with the devil, to a 1960s nose-twitching newlywed, witches have a longstanding hold over the American popular imagination. In her new book, “Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power,” Brooklyn resident and self-described practicing witch Pam Grossman demystifies our collective fascination with magical women, and divines what our love-hate relationship with witches can tell us about our true feelings toward female power.
“Waking the Witch” was released June 4 by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Several witchy women have weighed in so far, including singer-songwriter Neko Case, who called it, “a flowing history that I scarfed down like an èclair,” and “Go Ask Baba Yaga” author Taisia Kitaiskaia, who said Grossman casts “a spell that might wake your own connection to magic, beauty, and meaning.”
Grossman hosts “The Witch Wave Podcast” on magic, creativity and culture, and is the creator of the WitchEmoji app. She studied cultural anthropology, art history and comparative religion at NYU, where she co-organized the biennial Occult Humanities Conference. Grossman has upcoming book tour events for “Waking the Witch” on Thursday, June 27, at Barbès in Park Slope, and at the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair on Sep. 8 at the Brooklyn Expo Center.